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HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

USA Bookshelf by Andrei Saltykov

america bookshelf by andrei saltykov

The bookshelf in the shape of America that Russian-born architect Andrei Saltykov designed for his home in south London, UK, certainly qualifies as conversation piece. There is nothing tacky about this design. Because of the many states, his USA bookshelf is both beautiful and practical to store lots of books.

His American bookshelf makes an impression high on a wall of his open dining/living room. As a bonus, you could hold geography trivia game starting with the 600 tiny Christmas tree lights that represent the nation’s major cities. I love it!

+ photo credits: Will Pryce for Grand Designs magazine, January 2013

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

At the Opening Night of Ethan Allen’s Design Centre in Montreal

ming display sideboard with kim vallee at ethan allen

ethan allen cours mont royal opening night
from left to right:  Maripier Morin (TV columinist), Valérie Taillefer and Jean Airoldi (TV hosts and couple), me (Kim Vallée) Vanessa Sicotte (TV host and blogger) Mélissa Nepton (fashion designer), Julie du Page (comedian) and Mr. Farooq Kathwari (Chairman, President and CEO of Ethan Allen).

Last Thursday, I had the honor to be one of the 5 design personalities who were invited to pick their 5 top choices for the Design Centre Opening Night of the first French-speaking Ethan Allen store. If you are not familiar with the brand, you will like to know that you can tailor their furniture pieces to fit your taste and that Ethan Allen provides free interior designer services to their clients.

Now, let’s talk about my 5 picks. I rely on my own signature lifestyle: entertaining in style. For that, I selected furniture that are making a statement and that will stand the test of time.

josephine chair

My first choice was a modern take on a French classic. I absolutely felt in love with the fabric on the armless Josephine chair.

webber china cabinet in sunny yellow

Then, the bright yellow of the Webber china cabinet caught my eye. It is unusual to find a tall china cabinet that stays the same depth from the top to the floor. It is the type of china cabinet that I would definitely enjoy if it was in my own home.

Antiqued Glass Candlesticks

Candlesticks are a must have for anyone who entertains a lot.  Made of faux mercury glass, which is blown double-walled with silver placed between the layers, the Antiqued Glass Candlesticks bring the right amount of glitter and drama. Everyone who attended the opening night party returned with one of my picks. The small and the medium sized candlesticks were in our party bag.

My last two choices have a gentleman mood to reflect the trend towards more gender-neutral and masculine home decor. And they both have a distressed finish.

marapi table

We all need a versatile small side table. The sculptural shape of the Marapi table made it a winner for a reading nook, or to be used as a night table. You can bring it to your living room when you host a cocktail party. The table is heavy to move so you don’t have to worry that it will fall down if someone bumps into it while a few drink glasses sat on it. If you like the Marapi table, you can have it delivered fast since it is from the Ethan Allen Express collection.

ming display sideboard with kim vallee at ethan allen

My fifth item is the awesomely rustic Ming display sideboard. The compound miter corners are a nice touch. I like how it feels strong yet polished, especially in this vignette. It is currently showcased at the store next to a stunning L-shaped grey leather sofa. I imagine this design as the perfect living room for an urban couple or a design-savvy bachelor.

ethan allen cours mont-royal

Located at Cours Mont-Royal with an outside entry door at the corner of Metcalfe and Maisonneuve West, the 9,000 square feet store is both elegant and inspiring. If you are in Montreal, I invite you to discover what is inside the new Ethan Allen’s store.

photo credits: a mix of mine and from photographer Marc Dussault

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Five Fun Home Office Accessories

feminine desk accessories

I want my small home office to feel prettier. My quest for modern home office continues with five desk accessories that have nothing in common with what you see in a corporate office. I will start by replacing my old and bulky desk phone by a nice desk tidy. The retro camera sharpener could be the start of a collection of items that I would display on a picture rail over my desk.

feminine desk accessories
sourcing: Porcelain desk organizer $29.90 USD by Black+Blum | Retro Camera Pencil Sharpener $16.50 CAD at Indigo | Gus Modern Picture rails $115-$165 at Bobby Berk Home

This sculptural desk organizer reminds me of a model totem. As long as you limit the number of paper pieces in it, it would look amazing.

dark oak desk tidy
sourcing: Dark Oak Desk Tidy £44.90 at Cow & Co

I present the next set as a gift idea for a man. The square trays could be used to organize a drawer.

desk blocks
sourcing: Desk Blocks £52 at Cow & Co

I would probably use the Jonathan Alder’s bright pens more as a decorative element than for writing.

jonathan alder ink pen
sourcing: Jonathan Alder Ink Pen on sale at $8.90 USD at Horchow

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Verso Shelf by One Nordic Furniture

verso ladder style shelf

verso shelf
photo: Verso Shelf 34 and 56 by One Nordic Furniture

With a depth of only 16 cm (6 inches), Verso fits into narrow spaces. What I like about ladder style shelving unit is their versatility. They can serve so many purposes that you never get tired of them. You could use it for hanging scarfs, umbrellas and a couple of hangers in an entrance without a closet. Or to provide extra throws in a guest room. During the holiday season, Verso can become your ladder Christmas card holder.

verso ladder style shelf

With two sizes and additional magazine stands, it’s easy to create your own version of the Verso shelf. The available widths are 34 and 56 cm. Verso was created by Finnish furniture designer Mikko Halonen for One Nordic Furniture. For now, they only ship within Europe.

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Looking Back at the Modern Office

office dated from 1935

office dated from 1935

If we were turning back the clock 75 years ago, these are the desk accessories that you will want in your office. This 1935-40’s office was way before Mad Men. It is so funny to look at how things have changed.

globe cigarette holder from 1935-1945

For one thing, smoking used to be a big industry not just for the cigarette sales but also through the variety of smoking accessories. Look at this fancy globe cigarette holder. There were a floor ash tray table plus an ask tray on the desk.

lamp and intercom system

At one time, the Amplicall was a state of the art intercom system. It is made of bakelite, plastic, rubber and glass. Its style is similar to the executive lamp manufactured by Polaroid. An interesting fact is that the Amplicall was produced by another company, Rauland-Borg Corporation.

old typewriter

Look at how tall was the telephone.

thermos pitcher from 1935

I like the shape of the light green Thermos insulated pitcher and tray. If I had one, I would still use it.

You can admire this office of a past era by visiting the Decorative Arts and Design collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Lemon Sorbet is the 2013 Benjamin Moore Color of the Year

artisan trend benjamin moore

artisan trend benjamin moore

It is the time of the year where we look at color trends. Each paint maker made their own predictions but we can always see some common elements within their color palettes. This year, “greyed down” colours are in vogue. Except for the earth toned Artisan trend, the other palettes proposed by Benjamin Moore bring a subtle punch of colours to the neutral grey interiors.

The Artisan color palette gives you tips on how to update your grey walls. It is my favorite one!  My main floor is painted in two shades of grey and a rich, muted golden yellow.

Color of the Year 2013 and The Coastal Trend

coastal benjamin moore

At Benjamin Moore, the color of 2013 is Lemon Sorbet (2019-60). I like its softness. They described it as

the perfect transitional colour between the mid-tones and saturated colours seen in today’s home furnishings and the softer, lighter pastels which are emerging for 2013.

lemon sorbet wall relaxing home office design
photo credits: Benjamin Moore
You can see its soothing effect in this home office designed around a coastal theme. You could use the same palette to design a calm nursery.

Urbanite Color Trend

urbanite trend benjamin moore

Instead of the traditional black-and-white color scheme, mix a rich golden yellow with luscious navy. Marblehead gold is gorgeous. Or for a more subtle decor, update your kitchen white cabinets by pairing them with sophisticated neutral colours.

2013 urbanite color trend by benjamin moore
photo credits: Benjamin Moore

New Traditional Color Trend

A dark blue wall creates a nice backdrop for a bedroom. The key here is to keep the rest light. You can never go wrong with a chevron motif. The bedding used for this traditional bedroom is from West Elm but I wasn’t able to find it online.

new traditional color trend by benjamin moore
photo credits: Benjamin Moore

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Office Desk Accessories: three styles

shop by color

shop by color
photo credits: Poppin

A beautifully styled desk makes me more productive because I feel better and more energized. Plus, it helps me release my creativity. I found that desk accessories make all the difference. They can transform the mood of your home office area. I propose you three ways to do that.

Shop by Color

aqua tape dispenser and pen holder
sourcing: Aqua Tape Dispenser $12 and Pen Cup $6 at Poppin

If your design is based on one color, make a stop at Poppin where you can shop by color. Their glossy plastic desk accessories will brighten your day. They also sell office furniture in the same color palette.

Go Vintage / Old Technology

Poulain Tape Dispenser
sourcing: Poulain Tape Dispenser $24 USD at Anthropologie

After the rebirth of the vintage typewriters as a wonderful decor element, we now see plenty of accessories designed around the vintage cameras, radios or TV. I like this mix of old with new technology.

mini it
sourcing: Mini It $5 USD at Connect Design

Moss Studios vintage camera bookends
photo credits: Vintage Cameras bookends by Moss Studios at Anthropologie – no longer available 

To reproduce this style, get inspired by the handmade Vintage Cameras bookends by Moss Studios or the Mini It. Do not limit yourself to desk accessories, you can use also art prints and illustrations to create this look. The Mini It is an old TV stand that can be used a mini post-it dispenser or a photo frame.

Quirky and Fun Items

Specialists say that humor, surprises, and anything that clears your mind enable you not only to relax but to solve a problem that was difficult. This is why it might be good to put on your desk accessories that are out of the ordinary.

besom holder
sourcing: Besom Holder $68 USD at Anthropologie

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

New Uses for Old Things: Wooden Boxes …and Tips for a Rustic Meal

storage made of wooden boxes

storage made of wooden boxes
Photo: Wooden Box Service Stations at Clyde Common via Remodelista

Each fall, I crave for cosy space and comfort food. There is a design lesson to take home from the service stations at Clyde Common, a Portland restaurant located at the Ace Hotel. You could replicate their design to organize your pantry, your linen closet, or to create storage in your craft room or your kids’ playroom.

Laid-Back Food Presentation

serving steaks on a wood cutting boards
all food photos by David Reamer for Clyde Common

After reading their story on Remodelista, I was curious to see how Clyde Common interprets the European style tavern. I wanted to see how it differs from what is happening here in Montreal. This led me to food presentation that you can steal for your next fall or winter dinner party.

family style at the table

Even though I am a stylish girl, I appreciate the laid-back feeling of food being served on cocottes, cast-iron pans and wooden cutting boards. When I host an everyday dinner party at home, I leave the fancy food presentation to the professional chefs and concentrate my energy on cooking delicious food. Through simple tricks, I add flair to my meal.

charcuterie tray
A crowd-pleaser: the charcuterie tray

Finally, a cute way to serve crudités with their vinaigrette. Even if people don’t eat it, they pleasantly decorate your table.

veggies in a mason jar

What is your favorite way to serve food in fall or winter?

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Three Sofas for Small Spaces

elise sofa at eq3

Here are three stylish sofas for Canadian city dwellers. These sofas look great and they will not overwhelmed your space.

Option 1: Elise Sofa

elise sofa at eq3
EQ3 just added Elise to its sofa collection. If you order this vintage style apartment sofa online, you will get a choice of 3 colours (taupe, charcoal and linen) and two leg types. Elise Sofa $1,199 CAD at EQ3

On a design note, I like the color accents brought by these simple solid cushions.

Option 2: Vaughn Apartment Sofa

vaughn apartment sofa at crate and barrel
My second option will also please fans of mid-century design that care for the environment. The Vaughn Apartment Sofa features a low extended back, slim track arms and an eco-friendly construction. $1,499 USD at Crate & Barrel. Check at your local store for the price in Canadian dollars.

Option 3: Cedric Loveseat

cedric loveseat at urban barn
Upholstered in a neutral soft grey fabric, my third suggestion features the tailored, masculine vibes that are in vogue this fall. Cedric Loveseat $849 CAD at Urban Barn. Your Union Jack pillows will fit well with this style.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Symbol Audio’s Retro Modern, All-in-one Record Console

modern retro console symbol audio

modern retro console symbol audio
photo: Modern Record Console  

If the man in your life loves music, here is something that will please your design style and give him all the bells and whistles that he is craving for. New-York based Symbol Audio handcrafts modern audio HIFI consoles and vinyl LP storage cabinets in the tradition of fine furniture. If you like its 1950s look, start to save for his Christmas gift because I read on Core 77 that the Modern Record Console will run you about $15,000.

Symbol Audio produces three products, all designed by Blake Tovin and Matt Richmond. The Modern Record Console is an all-in-one American walnut unit that mixes the old technology with the new. You can play vinyl records or switch the selector from turntable to WiFi and stream from any digital source through the built-in wireless router and control music selections from your iPhone, iPod, iPad or computer.

lp storage cabinet by symbol audio

For LP collectors, the LP storage cabinet is available in 2 sizes storing either 320 or 640 LPs. The top can hold your turnable and audio components. Price ranges from $2,750 to $5,250.

HOME + GARDEN OUTDOOR space

Sand Box by Day, Fire Pit by Night

sand box around the fire pit

sand box around the fire pit
photo: Tongue & Groove via Houzz

I have a thing for clever use of space. And since space will only continue to be at premium, I feel that the future of the entire interior design industry passes by making better use of smaller spaces.

It is more common to show a double-duty room inside a home which is why I please to have found an example done in a backyard. It feels right to use sand instead of a stone floor around the fire pit at this property next to water. Young kids can play near their parents during the day, while the parents are comfortably relaxing in the Adirondack chairs.